For the most part, I think the response to the Covid-19 pandemic by the Government and the health authorities has been effective. Especially for such an unprecedented event. That's a word we hear a lot of. We could all play Covid Bingo while watching the press conferences during lockdown. Unprecedented. Bubble. Kindness. Supermarket.
But really, we're very lucky, especially when you look at what's happening in Australia.
All the big names have stood up and delivered. The Prime Minister has been compassionate and empathetic. The Finance Minister has been swift to respond to the dire economic straits most businesses and contractors have found themselves in because of the lockdown.
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Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield deserves a knighthood at the end of this, and the outgoing Police Commissioner has been all cleft-jawed and masterful, exactly what we want from the man in charge of operations when New Zealand has declared a State of Emergency.
But dear me. They can all hold their own individually on centre stage, but once they start trying to harmonise and sing as a group, it goes pear-shaped.
People, understandably, have had a lot of questions about what it means to be in a lockdown. Most of us have never experienced this sort of national – indeed, international - crisis and most of us have never been deprived of doing exactly what we want to do, when we want to do it.
So the Police Commissioner made the new normal very clear when he was interviewed on Newstalk ZB on Tuesday. Stay off the roads unless you're going to a pharmacy, the supermarket or it's a medical emergency. That was the message reiterated by the Prime Minister's office on Thursday when people rang me on ZB with their individual concerns.
However hard it may be that you cannot drive a short distance to go to a dog park or go for a mountain bike ride in the forest or go for a swim at the beach, stay off the roads unless it's dire straits. Easy. Simple to understand. Unfair for some. But clear.
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By Friday, soap and flannel had been applied to Mike Bush's message and what the Commissioner said on the Mike Hosking Breakfast on Friday morning was "Yes. You can drive. But stay local."
Say – and stay - what? Immediately, the texts started coming in. What's local? How do you define local? The message the authorities were now giving was confusing and fluffy. We want you off the roads, they seemed to be saying but we don't want to be mean and bossy and tell you that you HAVE to stay off the roads.
Sweet mother of all that is holy. The Government has decreed a state of emergency and I want to be a good soldier and live my life in accordance with their instructions, while exhorting others to do the same, because they're in charge and we all want this over as soon as possible. But relying on people to use their common sense isn't the way to do it. Have they actually met people? Do they have any idea how diverse and disparate and dumb some of us are?
My neighbour's idea of common sense may be a universe away from mine. The mixed messages continued on Friday at the press conference with Bloomfield and Sarah Stuart-Black, director of Civil Defence Emergency Management.
What we don't want is somebody taking their surfboard out, getting into trouble and having to be rescued, said Stuart-Black, in response to a question. Don't do activities that will require putting other people at risk.
What about swimming, asked a reporter. Ask yourself that question responded Stuart-Black. Nothing that means you might have to be rescued. Excellent. Crystal clear.
Exactly one minute and 26 minutes later Bloomfield said he wasn't saying that you couldn't swim. And that cycling is an excellent activity to do under lockdown.
I know these are strange and unusual times and that all of us – well, most of us – are trying to do our best. I can't imagine what sort of pressure our decision-makers are under. But please, I'm begging you. If you're on one stage, read from one page. Come up with one clear cohesive message that even the most oppositional defiant among us can understand. Be clear, be concise, have one person waving the stick and don't for one wild moment give people any wriggle room when it comes to interpreting the rules.
You're allowed to be bossy during a state of emergency. And soon, you're going to have to be. Otherwise we'll be in this for far longer than we need to.